Britain's Pets At Home wins market share as owners pamper furry friends –

A pet groomer tends to a dog at The Groom Room, at Pets at Home in Milton Keynes, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Milton Keynes, Britain, June 8, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers
May 25 (Reuters) – Pets At Home's (PETSP.L) customers continue to spend more on their four-legged companions despite a worsening cost-of-living crunch in Britain, as the retailer wins market share by making pet care more affordable, it said on Wednesday.
Britain's largest pet supplies retailer, which has more than 450 stores, reported an underlying profit before tax of 144.7 million pounds ($181.34 million) for the year ended March 31, above analysts' consensus of 141 million pounds.
Pets At Home, founded by British businessman Anthony Preston in 1991, also expects profit in the fiscal year 2023 to be in line with market expectations.
Successive lockdowns and work-from-home policies saw a surge in pet adoption and buying, helping companies that operate in the animal care market emerge among the few winners during the pandemic.
"The pet care market remains robust and in growth, with registrations into our Puppy & Kitten club continuing well ahead of pre-pandemic levels and growth in customer spend maintained across all categories and channels," Pets At Home said in a statement.
Food group Nestle's (NESN.S) chief executive officer, Mark Schneider, last month said pet food was "hot" right now, as the company reported a 7.7% rise in its petcare product prices. read more
Pet food, like baby food, appears relatively unresponsive to higher prices, because it's bought for loved but very fussy dependants and doesn't represent a big proportion of household budgets.(
Pets At Home said it had clear plans in place to keep its pricing competitive for customers, while cutting its own costs as it cautioned about rising inflation like many other retailers. However, the company said it was well placed to manage them.
Shares of the London-listed company were up 5.6% at 296.6 pence, as of 0704 GMT.
($1 = 0.7980 pounds)
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European shares hit more than one-year lows on Thursday as slowing euro zone business activity heightened growth worries, while German shares dropped 1.8% after the country triggered the "alarm stage" of its emergency gas plan.
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